Serving Alcohol at Your Holiday Party? What’s Your Liability

‘Tis the season for holiday parties, and if there will be alcohol at yours, you could be liable. Are you prepared to protect your business from the seasonal “gift” everyone would like to avoid – a lawsuit? Specific businesses are liable Businesses that sell liquor for income – bars, package stores, or restaurants – may be held responsible for injuries resulting from intoxicated employees. Social hosts may also be liable Social hosts – the party serving the alcohol – may be responsible under certain circumstances. Laws vary widely by state, but typically include situations where:
  • Alcohol is served to minors.
  • Guests are encouraged to drink excessively.
  • Alcohol is served recklessly – without regard for intoxication or ceasing to serve those who’ve overly imbibed.
Businesses at greater risk Many states impose liability specifically in situations involving business events due to the nature of the relationship of employee to employer, and the perception of obligation to attend. Avoid liability by taking preventive measures:
  • Make attendance optional.
  • Avoid discussing business.
  • Hold the event at a licensed establishment (waiters can more accurately and politely monitor intake and refuse service).
  • Host a cash bar leaving employees responsible for drink purchases.
  • Ensure no minors are served.
  • Discourage excessive drinking.
  • Limit drinking when you see signs of:
  • Poor judgment.
  • Impaired physical coordination.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Utilize drink tickets.
  • Provide transportation such as free taxis or encourage designated drivers.
Still not sure what you may be liable for? Contact an attorney. They can discuss with you laws pertaining to your state so you can accurately assess the advantages and disadvantages of hosting a holiday party, liability involving car accidents following the event, and more. Need help watching out for your customers like you’re watching out for your employees? CallCenterUSA can help. Learn more.